As you may know, I am currently raising money for the Hendrie Family (see my previous blog post for details). In February 2017, I will be climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and in the run up, I am challenging myself by climbing a mountain a month. I am nearly half way to my target of £5,000 and would be very grateful for any further donations. Here’s a link to my fundraising page, and here’s how I got on this month:
I was up at 5 am on October 30 and very grateful for the clocks going back and the extra hour of sleep. I checked the weather over breakfast – warm, a little cloudy but no rain – perfect for the second mountain in our ‘Mountain a month’ training regime for Kilimanjaro.
My climbing partner Andy and I headed over the Pennines to climb Helvellyn in the Lake District. Helvellyn is the third highest peak in England and providing the weather stayed as promised, we planned to head for the 950m summit, ascending via Striding Edge and later descending across Swirral Edge. This climb is not for those without a head for heights and can be dangerous in high winds.
Pictured: Mike on Striding Edge
After a two hour drive we arrived in Glenridding and were met by the spectacular view across Ullswater. The calm water indicated windless conditions and this made our final decision to cross Striding Edge an easy one.
We arrived at Striding Edge after a steady walk up the first few hundred metres of the mountain. We crossed the ledge with no difficulty but then faced a short scramble down what has become known as the ‘Chimney’. While I am sure this is nothing on Kilimanjaro, I’ve heard that some people without climbing experience have had to stop here.
A steep last push up and we arrived at the summit, which has beautiful views on a clear day. We had mixed views that day – clear one minute and the next we could just about make out the other main peaks in the Lake District and the Yorkshire three peaks in the distance.
Above: Mike at the 950m high summit
Here we stopped for lunch and admired the surroundings with fellow climbers and mountain bikers who were looking forward to the route down.
Our descent down Swirral Edge began with a, steep scramble down towards Red Tarn which looked stunning in the sun. It seemed like a long trek back- we put it down to the ‘Travellers Rest’ calling.
Mike's 14.1 km route can be seen above
Another mountain ticked off our list, we headed home for food and a bath – we’ll need to learn to live without these comforts in preparation for Kilimanjaro but we’re easing in!
While I have no doubt Kilimanjaro has some stunning views in store for us, Andy and I are learning how great our outdoors is and are looking forward to next month’s climb.
All donations welcome: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MikeSmith51